Project Helicam

Helicam Sketches

Helicam is an AltLab project that emerged from the wish to capture images from the sky with a WiFi enabled camera so that one can see what’s being shot from a different perspective and in real-time. This approach may lead to new paradigms in visual perspectives by enabling shooting from air views at a considerably low cost and also so close that cannot be easily done from a helicopter.

As a real example, one of the projects to accomplish with Helicam is for testing for local forests surveillance and use in related research projects, as with forest fire prevention for sustainability. Other possible operation fields can be architecture, building surveillance or even artistic performance environments where multimedia has a strong presence.

The main idea is to build an inexpensive and flexible platform using – as a starting point – specifications made available by several open source projects available online (like Mikrokopter or UAVP-NG). After doing some initial research and costs evaluation we realized that we cannot make this prototype with the resources currently available within the group members or AltLab and therefore we started to seek for some kind of sponsorship. I have to say that we were lucky since with only two contacts made, we were able to fundraise money in order to build a flying prototype according to our initial costs predictions. Thank you Mobbit for accepting our proposal!!

If you wanna join us in this project stop by AltLab in one of our regular Tuesday night meetings.

Dissecting old hardware

The last two sessions at Altlab have been a tremendous fun!

We had been collecting lots of old hardware (pc’s, modems, motheboards, cd-roms, printers, etc)  to give it a new purpose! Finally we decided to start to take profit from it.

Basically in old hardware trash, there are lot’s of interesting things that still work very well (like motors,  leds, screens) and can be re-utilized in other projects.

Here we have some pictures of this activity :

One of the results, a box full of motors :

So if you have in your place some old electronic equipment stored that you are no planing to use it anymore, you can bring it to AltLab and we’ll take care of it! 😉

More pictures in our Flickr Photo Stream

Workshop de Impressão 3D com Zach Hoeken (Lisboa)

3D Printing Workshop

Datas: 19 de Out a 1 de Nov de 2009

Local: Lisboa (espaço a anunciar)


19:30 às 22:30 (dias de semana)

11:00 às 19:00 (fins de semana)

total de 58h

Informação e inscrições:


Organização: Audiência Zero (altLab + LCD)

Contacto: catarinamota (at) audienciazero (dot) org

(inscrições abertas :: número limitado de vagas)


A impressão 3D é uma forma original de impressão, no âmbito da tecnologia de prototipagem, em que um objecto tridimensional é criado por uma máquina a partir da acumulação de camadas sucessivas de um dado material (Wikipedia).

O Workshop

O objectivo do workshop é a construção e utilização de uma impressora 3D open source (modelo MakerBot). Os participantes irão construir a máquina de raiz: desde a montagem das componentes electrónicas e extrusor, passando pela mecânica, até à junção de todas as peças. Irão ainda adquirir e aperfeiçoar aptidões e técnicas nas área de fabrico de electrónica, mecânica, modelação 3D, fabricação digital e resolução de problemas com impressoras 3D. O workshop será ainda um lugar privilegiado para adquirir conhecimentos sobre os mais diversos tópicos, como teoria da electrónica, design de firmware, engenharia mecânica, protocolos de série, fabricação digital e desenho 3D.

A impressora 3D construída durante o workshop ficará posteriormente disponível para os membros do altLab (qualquer interessado se pode inscrever no altLab se assim o desejar). Os participantes que desejem construir a sua própria máquina, e levá-la para casa, terão que adquirir o respectivo kit open source no site da MakerBot.

Zach Hoeken

Zach Hoeken likes to dream big, fail big, and win big. His true passion in life is acting as a catalyst and helping others do amazing things. Whether it is creating open source micro controllers (, robot controller software (, object sharing websites (, self replicating 3D printers (, or hacker collectives ( there is one central purpose: to help other people help themselves create an awesome world to live in. He hopes that someday we can create a world that surpasses even the wildest futures portrayed in science fiction. He thinks the universe is and will continue to be completely rad. Do you want to help?

Datas e Valores para inscrição no workshop:

Inscrições até 31 de Julho: 200€*

(50% no acto de inscrição + 50% até 19 de Setembro)

Inscrições após 31 de Julho: 250€*

(pagos no acto de inscrição)

* não reembolsável

3D printing workshop

digital art girls @ futurartes

digital art girls @ futurartes
Ladies, from left to right: Raquel Pardal, Ana Carvalho, Diana Combo, Elga Ferreira, Petra Farinha, Catarina Mota, and Mónica Mendes. And then, of course, there’s Rudolfo Quintas in between Elga and Petra 🙂 Note that we tried to hide our laptops under the table to avoid looking like total workaholics, but Mónica’s still shows…

We loved the first edition of futurartes. There were talks by LCD (Pedro Ângelo), In Motion (Filipe Valpereiro), and altLab + openMaterials (me), Processing and PD workshops (Pedro Ângelo), performances by Rudolfo Quintas, Diat0m (Rui Monteiro), and Magenta Interior (Ana Carvalho). Thank you Pedro and Raquel for a wonderful festival!

But mostly it was great to, for the first time in quite a while, gather together so many Portuguese girls working in digital arts – there were 8 of us, instead of the usual 2 or 3. Raquel, Ana, Diana, Elga, Petra, Catarina, Mónica, and Letícia (who wasn’t there for the group pic) are developing experimental work on tangible interfaces, bio art, computer vision, physical computing, live video processing, hybrid materials engineering, and performance. Yay ladies!

Make your own game-pad!

…Don’t let others tell you how many buttons you can press at once, these are times of freedom 🙂

This is a homemade game-pad with just one accelerometer (a breakout board from Sparkfun) and one push-button.

custom game-pad with accelerometer and push-button connected to arduino

Using a simple, custom protocol and a C# listener we could play Acceleroids, an Asteroids lost sibling on Steroids, which uses the accelerometer to control the ship and the button to shoot.

next steps will be to turn this into a generic game-pad by simulating keyboard key presses for any sensor you throw at the Arduino, allowing you to create truly funky pads to control your favourite game. Stay tuned! 😉

Edit: We were alerted by friendly comments that this project resembles another project/tutorial that can be found here:,902.0.html